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Choosing Your Business Alarm Security System

Security is paramount for all businesses, irrespective of the type of workplace. 

Some might need tighter security and more complex systems whereas others might do with just the basic ones.

But for most businesses, installing an alarm security system as the first line of defence against burglars, intruders, and fire is the recommended way to go. Some of the most frequently reported business crimes are burglary, theft, and criminal damage. 

According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), there are up to £3.8 million incidents of traditional business crime each year amounting to an annual cost of around £12.9 billion to small businesses in England and Wales!

Considering the staggering amount of losses faced by businesses around the country due to burglary and property damage, it is extremely wise to invest in a business alarm security system. 

These alarm security systems notify the people in charge of threats such as a break-in or fire, along with acting as very effective deterrents against intruders.

When choosing your business alarm security system, there are a couple of factors that you, as a business owner, must consider. Each business is unique with different needs. These factors will help you make a good decision for your business’s safety, along with the valuable lives and possessions in it.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER

  • The type of business – a jewellery store might need more anti-theft security than a restaurant, whereas a restaurant might need a more complex fire alarm system due to the constant use of flame in the kitchen.
  • The size of the business – if the business is in a huge, multi-storey building, it might need an extensive security alarm system than one operating from a single room.
  • The location – the area that your business is in is a crucial factor in determining which alarm system your business requires and how important professional monitoring services are to your business.
  • Your budget – even though a business alarm security system must be considered an investment rather than a cost, you still need to keep your budget in mind, especially if you are a small business owner.
  • The threats – it is crucial to have a thorough inspection of the business identifying all the underlying risks and threats. A risk assessment must be carried out, seeking professional help if needed.

TYPES OF BUSINESS ALARM SECURITY SYSTEMS

Let’s look at the different types of business alarm security systems and how to choose the best one for your business:

BURGLAR ALARM SECURITY SYSTEMS

Burglar alarms are an integral part of any business’s security and are considered one of the best deterrents for burglars and intruders.

They work using a series of sensors that go off as soon as they detect unusual or suspicious activity, alerting the owners and people in charge of the threat. Necessary action, such as calling the police, can be taken to catch the perpetrators.

According to the Metropolitan Police, your business is less likely to be a victim of burglary if you have security systems such as a burglar alarm installed.

TYPES OF BURGLAR ALARMS

There are several types of burglar alarms available and choosing the best one for your business depends on your requirements and the level of protection you’re looking for.

  • Bells-only burglar alarm

This type of burglar alarm makes use of sounds, and sometimes flashing lights, to activate the sensor. They rely on the owners and people nearby to take action as soon as the alarm is triggered, which is why they aren’t particularly effective for businesses in secluded and isolated areas, as well as for after working hours when the property is empty.

It would require someone to be constantly present on the premises, for instance, a security guard, who can take action as soon as the alarm is triggered.

You can expect to pay around £500 for a professionally-installed bells-only alarm.

Pros: no monthly monitoring costs; even the simplest burglar alarm can help deter burglars.

Cons: you won’t be alerted unless you’re in or very near your business; might not stop burglaries if no one is around to stop them.

  • Dialler burglar alarm

The dialler burglar alarm works exactly like the bells-only alarm with the additional feature of you or your nominated keyholders being contacted in the event of an alarm trigger.

Most diallers allow you to save three to ten numbers to be contacted in such emergencies, who will be called according to the priority list you’ve set. As soon as someone responds, the system stops contacting anyone further.

You can either have the system linked to your phone line, in which case it’ll use your landline to call the emergency contacts, or to your GSM mobile network, in which case you would require sim card topped with credit all the time.

The starting price for a dialler burglar alarm is around £600.

Pros: no monthly monitoring costs; you or the nominated keyholders will be alerted.

Cons: the people contacted might be unavailable; weak mobile signals might affect the system’s performance in case of GSM connectivity.

  • Monitored burglar alarms

Monitored burglar alarms sound an alarm as soon as the sensors pick up any unusual activity and alert a professional monitoring centre manned by experts who notify the owners, nominated keyholders, or the police.

These alarms offer great peace of mind knowing that your burglar alarm is being monitored even when you’re away.

The cost of a monitored alarm is similar to a bells-only alarm with the expected starting price for a professionally-installed system to be around £600. In addition to the installation cost, you’d be expected to pay a certain amount every month for monitoring services.

Pros: guaranteed response; 24/7 protection; the security company is liable if no action is taken.

Cons: recurring costs.

  • Smart burglar alarms

Smart burglar alarms are managed via an app with notifications sent to your phone. Similar to monitored systems, they alert someone in case of a break-in but are usually integrated with your phone and other smart devices such as CCTV cameras and lights. 

For instance, when the alarm is triggered, the smart lights on your property would turn on to scare away any intruder. The alarm can also be turned on and off from your phone. It’s extra beneficial when you’re away and need to keep an eye on what’s happening.

The average cost of installing a smart burglar alarm system would be high as compared to the other three variants, mainly because of all the complexities and added features involved. You can expect to pay a starting price of £1000.

Pros: alerts you even when you’re away; can be controlled and monitored via your smartphone.

Cons: costly.

It is very important to assess your business to determine which type of burglar alarm is most suited to your needs. 

If you are unsure, you can call a professional security service to assess your property for you. We, at Calder Security, would be happy to help with our vast knowledge and experience of over 40 years. Call us right away for a quick consultation.

FIRE ALARM SECURITY SYSTEMS

If you are looking for added security then we recommend that you go the 360-degree route. Where you would want your property secured from not only theft but damage as well. 

Fire can cause a lot of structural damage, which can also compromise your installed security system and even cover up a crime! Think of it as insurance that covers your property and the security system itself because believe it or not, there is a high chance of a burglary caused by arson. 

This happens because some malicious robbers believe the police will come to think of the stolen possessions as being burnt in the fire while in reality, they were burgled first and the property was set aflame later.

In the last decade, there have been around 2.3 million deliberate fires resulting in over 25,000 injuries and over 900 deaths in the UK alone. 

While the reasons for this may differ, arson can be done with the intent of robbing someone and covering crimes or records.

Fire alarms are a business’s best defence against arson and fires since they alert the occupants of the threat at the earliest detection. You are more likely to take any action that saves your property with a fire alarm than without it. 

According to the current UK fire alarm regulations, if you are a business owner, it is a legal requirement for you to have a proper fire alarm system in place. The inability to do so might result in heavy fines and possible jail time.

TYPES OF FIRE ALARMS

There are different types of fire alarms to choose from and picking the most ideal one for your business is a matter of the level of safety you require.

  • Conventional fire alarms

Conventional fire alarm systems work by dividing the property into zones which either have manual activation/call points, automatic sensors, or a combination of both, all connected to the control panel.

Knowing exactly where the fire started is controlled by the number of zones and circuits that have been wired within the building.

When these components get activated, the control panel sounds an alarm such as a bell or other audible devices, alerting you to only the zone where the alarm was triggered.

Conventional fire alarms give a rough idea as to where the fire has started, and because of their vagueness, they are most suitable for businesses operating in a small area.

Pros: cost-effective for small businesses. 

Cons: less reliable; no specific location of the fire.

  • Addressable fire alarms

The addressable fire alarm system comprises of a series of detectors and devices that all connect to the control panel. 

Each device has an address that can pinpoint the exact location of the threat. When one of the system’s components is initiated, it shows the component’s address on the fire alarm panel.

Due to the high level of precision, they are more suited for businesses that operate in a larger area or are at a higher risk of fires.

Pros: more reliable; gives a specific location of the fire.

Cons: costly.

Fire alarms are further divided into grades and categories providing varying levels of safety depending on the business’s requirements.

  • Grades

There are six updated grades of fire alarms (Grade A, C, D1, D2, F1, and F2) according to the BS 5839-6:2019 that detail the kind of equipment used in the system.

Grade A is the highest level of safety with separate detectors and sounders with back-up power supply and central control equipment, suitable for high-risk premises such as ones dealing with flammable materials.

Grade F2 is the lowest level with one or more detectors powered by a replaceable primary battery or batteries, suitable for residential properties that are low-risk.

  • Categories

There are three categories of fire alarm systems according to the British Standards; category M, L, and P.

Category M (Manual) constitutes all manual fire alarms where the alarm must be triggered by someone manually. Activation/call points and sounders are fitted with no automatic fire detection system, relying on humans to detect fire and trigger the alarm.

Category L (Life protection) comprises of fire alarm systems geared towards protecting life, focusing on escape routes and fire exits in areas of the building with the highest risk of fire. There are 5 levels in this category, L1–L5, with L1 offering the highest level of protection and early fire detection, and L5 offering enough to fulfil the basic safety requirements.

Category P (Property protection) comprises of fire alarm systems geared towards protecting property. There are two levels, P1 and P2, with P1 providing complete fire protection at the earliest possible sign and P2 with detectors for certain defined parts of a building.

It is common practice for businesses to use a combination of the three categories, particularly large-scale businesses operating in a huge area.

A comprehensive fire risk assessment of your property along with the primary safety objectives will help determine which grade and category are best suited for your property. 

You may consult with a professional to guide you properly. Our experts at Calder Security will be able to quickly assess your premises and provide recommendations on the type, grade, and level of system you require. Contact us right away!

BENEFITS OF A BUSINESS ALARM SECURITY SYSTEM

When choosing an alarm security system for your business, along with the factors discussed above, it is important to look at the benefits they can provide:

  • Deters crime

Alarm security systems are one of the most effective ways to deter burglars and intruders. Burglars keep close tabs on properties they plan on targeting and stay away from ones that have an alarm system installed.

  • Constant protection

You don’t have to rely solely on security guards to keep your business safe. An alarm security system provides round-the-clock protection, with experts keeping a watchful eye on your property if you have monitoring services enabled.

  • Cost minimisation

Contrary to popular belief, having an effective security system can lower your costs. You must look at it as an investment and how important it is to keep your business up and running. 

In the event of a burglary or fire, alarm monitoring can speed up response time and protect your valuable assets from theft and fire.

Additionally, a well-maintained security alarm system can lower your insurance premiums and protect you from fines during inspections for not having a proper system in place.

  • Peace of mind

This is possibly the biggest benefit you can get by installing a security alarm system in your business. Knowing that your property is being monitored gives a sense of relief because you know that the alarms will either deter criminals away from your business or call the relevant authorities in case of a break-in or fire.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP

If you are unsure and confused about the type of alarm system your business requires, do not worry, Calder Security is here to help!

Call us now and discuss your requirements with one of our leading experts.

Photo by Frans Ruiter on Unsplash